Fincantieri has started construction of the seventh Frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) vessel for the Italian Navy, at its Riva Trigoso shipyard in Sestri Levante, Italy.
This forms part of a contract awarded to Orizzonte Sistemi Navali for ten vessels to replace the Italian Navy's ageing Fincantieri-built Lupo and Maestrale-class ships by 2021.
The prime contractor for Italy on the FREMM programme is Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri, 49% Finmeccanica), while the joint venture between DCNS and Thales, Armaris, is the main contractor for France.
The new vessels will be delivered in two versions, including an anti-submarine warfare version and a general purpose vehicle.
The 144m-long vessel offers a displacement capacity of 6,700t, cruises at a maximum speed of 27k and can accommodate 145 individuals, with 55 extra personnel.
Scheduled for delivery in 2018, the new frigate will be able to operate in a wide range of scenarios, mainly in patrolling and safeguarding the Mediterranean.
The Italian versions of the FREMM vessels will be equipped with the SAAM Aster 15 missile system, Teseo Mk2 sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and MBDA's Milas all-weather weapon system.
In addition, the vessels will also have a EMPAR G-band multifunction phased-array radar and Galileo Avionica silent acquisition surveillance system, which serves as an infrared search and track system.
The Italian Navy took delivery of its third FREMM vessel in March this year.
Image: The Italian Navy's anti-submarine warfare FREMM vessel. Photo: courtesy of Occar.